Which child is your favorite?

Do you have a favorite child?

Even if your answer is yes, would you ever admit it? Or tell your kids?

A daddy blogger this week announced to the world that he has a favorite son. He writes, “If I were to be absolutely honest, my older son is my favorite of the two. He and I are adventurous partners in crime, and I can’t imagine life without him.”

And then in defense of that statement, this dad goes on to say, “I admit it, my oldest son is my favorite because he can do more things.  To me, he’s more fun.  I don’t love either of my sons any more than the other, but I do like them differently.”

Yikes. That second son is in for a whole lot of therapy, and if I were the “favorite,” I might sleep with one eye open.

Before becoming a parent, I always wondered about this. Do parents really prefer one child to another? Are there favorites?

Now as a mom, I’ve decided the word “favorite” simply has no place in parenting. I do not have a favorite child, and am irked by this daddy blogger’s claim that, “Yes, I have a favorite son and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m guessing you could look deep in the mirror and admit you have a favorite too.”

I have different relationships with my children, but that in no way equates to a favorite. They are two different children whom I try my best not to compare.

I feel bad for this man’s not-so-favorite son. I think as parent bloggers we are wise to learn that not very emotion or thought we have belongs on the Internet. I have learned this lesson myself several times in the past four years of writing this blog.

But I think choosing favorites is a deeper issue than just not announcing it on the Internet for your child to read one day before going to his next therapy session. The problem is if you see a child as your favorite, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. Even this daddy blogger admits he chooses his “favorite son” to do errands with on weekends. And so they create more shared experiences while the other kid gets more and more alienated.

The bottom line is no child should ever hear they aren’t dad’s favorite. Parents who do parenting right make their kids feel so special and loved that each one truly believes they have the best relationship with mom and dad. Every child deserves to grow up harboring the secret knowledge that they are dad or mom’s favorite — not the public knowledge that they are not.

What do you think? Is this something the dad should have kept quiet? Do you think parents really do have a “favorite” child?


  1. Momof7

    I think we do have favorites. Sometimes you just get along with some better than others. That doesn’t mean that you don’t love all your children. I’ve had conversations about this with my sister (and myself). We do have favorites but that does not equate to love. I will never admit to my children that I have favorites nor will I tell them who they are. That father’s mistake was admitting which child is his favorite.

    • ann

      I don’t think favorite is correct. I have three children, different ages, different needs, different personalities, different drama in their lifes. Some days, I do prefer the company of one over the other, but that is not due to them, rather, it is due to how I am feeling that day. If I think I need to play mother hen, that makes it the drama kids day. If I want to be reflective, that makes it the easy kids day. If I want to play, that makes it the silly kids day. Life is too, too short to play favorites, but everyday someone complements my mood and I will take it!

  2. GAmom

    I admit I have favorites–with some clarification. I have favorites based on what I am doing or thinking etc but I love them all My son is my favorite when talking and watching sports. We both love it and can discuss and just enjoy being together with this and equate so many things to sports. He is also my fav to discuss (argue gently) with about politics. My daughters could care less. My youngest is my favorite to have deep discussions about life and other topics. She is my truely deep thinker and has so much insight. My oldest daughter is my favorite partner in crime with spontaneous shopping or really any activity-I never know where spending time with her will lead but it is always an adventure. My daughter-in-law is my favorite in helping me be creative. She is a crafter and a home designer and family builder. She teaches me so much and i love to sit and drink in her quiet spirit. My son in law is my fav go to person. He is the handy person who can tell me how things work and how to fix and amazes me with all he knows. So yep, I have favorites but not one overall because they each bring their own style to my life.

  3. LAL

    I agree completely with the above commenters. We ALL have a favorite of the day and sometimes that day caries over to the next. I think it’s possible that Erin Stewart might be getting a little uptight about this subject. And guess what Erin, not just a secret, I too am Mom and Dads favorite. But it’s because I’m the adult child who calls, and invests time and invitations for holiday gatherings and dinners and it truly invested through the thick and thin even as we all age and move on to different phases of our own lives. It is what it is, not everything requires therapy- that line is straight from the Drama Queens play book!

  4. older mom

    My father, who would have given his life for his children, was the most wonderful, charitable man in the world. My younger sister felt that he had favorites and was jealous of my being the oldest. Before his death he finally admitted that if he ever had favorites, it was because of our behaivior as adults. We had a large family, and as adults some of his children worked hard, helped out when needed, made an effort to visit, etc. Others were always asking for money as adults, never had time to help, and he rarely heard from them unless they needed something. I do not feel like he loved one over another, but I think he enjoyed seeing some more than others. He never, ever said he favored any of us, and he was always happy to see us. Ironically, the one who felt like she was not his favorite was one who was given thouseands of dollars that was never paid back.

  5. Cindy Snarr

    Being the favorite isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. more expectations, more responsibility. I don’t think I would ever announce to the world which child is my favorite, however. That may bring on some serious therapy down the road. We are human, we relate to our kids in different ways, based on their and our personalities. You choose your friends, you don’t get to choose your family. Having said that, each of my kids secretly think they are my favorite, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  6. DAVE

    I’m not sure you should have “a” favorite. GAmom has a good handle on it.
    But the father in the article seems to have “a” favorite, which in
    my opinion is a no-no.

  7. Momof7

    I don’t think the problem lies in having a favorite but in showing favoritism. It is impossible to treat our children equally. Maybe if they were all the same age, same sex etc. we could but that is not the case. I have seen a mother show favoritism to one child or another and it is very difficult for the unfavored child. My grandmother-in-law definitely favored one of her daughters and that daughter’s children. My husband now laughs about it but it was painful to his mother to watch.

  8. Cat

    I once asked my older kids if they thought that I had a favorite child. They said yes. I was surprised since I didn’t think that I had one. I asked them who they thought was my favorite. They both said that it was one of the younger ones. At the time, it was one that I was having a particularly difficult time with and didn’t really like to be around because of behavior issues. I’m still not quite sure why they thought that child was my favorite.

  9. Danny Chipman

    My parents used to joke (I think) that the favorite child was whoever did more housework that day. Sometimes they kept a point system–all in jest–which led to playful jockeying and some smack talk, at least amongst the older sisters. I can see how that approach might not be as well received among some other families, but I grew up in one that believed teasing at home helped prepare for teasing outside the home.

    When we were bratty, they’d frequently remind us that, while they loved us all dearly, sometimes they just didn’t “like” us, and would we please leave?

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